Hokies defeat Miami in final home game, 44-14
Ore runs for 81 yards and two touchdowns
November 17, 2007

Box Score VT 44, Miami 14
 
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia Tech Hokies turned a slim, 20-14 early third-quarter lead into a dominating 44-14 win over Miami by running off 24 straight points in the second half in ACC football action on Saturday evening at Lane Stadium.

With the win, Tech improved to 9-2 overall and 6-1 in the ACC, while Miami fell to 5-6 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

"It was a great win for our program," Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. "In all the years we have played Miami, we have a lot of respect for them and we know what kind of game it is. I was proud of the way our football team hung in there."

Despite totaling minus-12 yards of offense in the second quarter, the Hokies erupted in the other three to tally 358 yards on the day. Tech began the game utilizing its two-headed quarterback system once again, but early in the third quarter, Tyrod Taylor tweaked a muscle in his left side on one of his seven carries for 38 yards, and Sean Glennon played the rest of the snaps in the second half. Glennon completed 13-of-24 passes for 171 yards, including a first-quarter touchdown pass to Justin Harper. Taylor connected on one pass for five yards on two attempts.

Vince Hall returned to the defensive lineup for the first time since breaking his wrist in the Clemson game, and he helped lead an attack that limited the Hurricanes to minus-2 yards rushing on the day, and 213 yards in total. Hall led the defense with 13 tackles, while Cam Martin notched 11 and Xavier Adibi collected 10. The Hokies sacked Miami quarterback Kyle Wright six times, with 1.5 of them coming from Martin, and one apiece coming from Chris Ellis, Barry Booker and Stephan Virgil. Jason Worilds chipped in with the other half-sack. The minus-2 yards rushing is the first time since 2002 that the Tech defense has held an opponent to negative rushing yards (Rutgers, minus-7).

The Hokies scored each of the first three times that they possessed the ball in the first half. After holding the Hurricanes to a three-and-out to open the game, Eddie Royal got the Tech offense started on an end-around for 19 yards. Branden Ore followed with a 22-yard jaunt to the Miami 20, and six plays later, he finished off the eight-play, 61-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Ore rushed five times for 40 yards on the drive and was met at the 2 by a defender on the scoring play, but he lowered his shoulder and bowled the Hurricane over and into the end zone. Jud Dunlevy's PAT at 10:12 gave Tech the 7-0 lead.

"I was just feeling good," Ore said after the game, having totaled 81 yards on 15 carries to go with two scores. "I've got to give credit to the offensive line, for those guys coming out and playing the way they did. That was the first time that we had the line that we were planning on for the year. It was good to see those guys working together and to see us have success running the football."

After another three-and-out by Miami, Taylor led off Tech's second possession with a 13-yard run before giving way to Glennon, who completed 3-of-4 passes on the drive - a pair to Josh Hyman for a combined 19 yards, and the 15-yard scoring toss to Harper - to help Tech extend its lead to 14-0 following Dunlevy's PAT at 5:07. The touchdown reception by Harper was his third in the past three games, and he did it by making a brilliant, one-handed catch while falling down with a defender on his back.

"Sean laid [the ball] up there and gave me a chance to make a play," Harper said of the touchdown catch. "I actually wanted to go up with two hands and get it, but it started drifting on me a little bit so I put one hand up there, and God gave me the ability to make the catch."

Tech's third score came on a 40-yard field goal by Dunlevy just 43 seconds into the second quarter, and it capped a nine-play 34-yard drive that ended with the Hokies up 17-0.

After being out-gained 150 yards to six in the first quarter, Miami held Tech to minus-12 yards in the second and threatened three times deep in Tech territory, but came away with just seven points. The first drive was halted on third-and-6 from the Tech 16 when Booker forced a Wright fumble that was recovered by Ellis at the 18. On their following possession, the Hurricanes made all the way to the Tech 1, but a goal-line stand turned them away scoreless.

Miami finally passed the goal line with 21 seconds remaining on the first-half clock to make it 17-7 at the break. The Hokies thought they had held Miami to a 27-yard field goal, but the defense was called for an offsides penalty that gave the Hurricanes new life. Wright scrambled in for the touchdown from four yards out on the next play, and Francesco Zampogna chipped in the extra point to give the Hurricanes some momentum heading into the locker room.

Dunlevy added another field goal for Tech - this time a 44-yarder with 10:28 on the clock - to open the third quarter and give the Hokies a 20-7 advantage. However, Miami mimicked its second-quarter success by answering right back with another touchdown to stay within reach at 20-14. Wright capped a 12-play, 53-yard drive by throwing a 1-yard touchdown to Leonard Hankerson, whom the Hokies argued should've been called for offensive pass interference after pushing off of Victor Harris. Zampogna followed with the PAT.

That would be all Miami could muster, though, as the Hokies went on to put up 24 unanswered points to record the 30-point win. Ore scored for the second time on the night with a seven-yard run at 3:01, finishing off a drive in which he looked to be in 2006 form, carrying the ball four times for 38 yards. Dunlevy's PAT made it 27-14, and he added his third field goal of the day - this time from 37 yards - with 28 seconds left on the third quarter clock. The field goal was set up by a Harris interception of Wright, which he returned 44 yards from the Tech 36 to the Miami 20. It was the team-leading fifth pick for Harris this season, and he now has nine in his career, which ties him on Tech's all-time list with Brandon Flowers, Beamer and secondary coach Torrian Gray.

Fullback Carlton Weatherford plowed in for a 1-yard score with 11:33 left in the contest to make it 37-14, finishing a drive that saw Royal take another end-around for 25 yards. The key play of the drive came just before Weatherford's first collegiate rushing score, when Hyman made an acrobatic catch going across the middle. Hyman reached back behind his body in mid-air to snag the ball that was going off course, and turned it up-field for a 41-yard gain to the Miami 1. With 60 yards receiving in the game, Hyman went over the 1,000-yard mark for his career (1,045).

The Hokies added one more score for good measure late in the game, and it was set up by the last of Miami's three turnovers. Wright rushed for four yards from his own 5, but coughed up the ball after being hit by Orion Martin. Flowers scooped it up at the 9, and backup tailback Jahre Cheeseman got his number called three times in a row, finally punching it in from two yards out for his first collegiate touchdown at 5:48 to set the final score at 44-14.

With 45 punt return yards in the game, Eddie Royal now has 1,284 as a Hokie and has become the ACC's all-time leader in that category, passing Maryland's Steve Suter (1,271).

The Hokies will face off with Virginia next Saturday in Charlottesville at noon, with the winner earning the right to represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship game on Dec. 1st in Jacksonville.

"It's a big game for us coming up," Hall said of the intra-state battle with the Cavaliers. "It's like a championship game. Virginia is playing really well right now, and they beat Miami 48-0 so you know what they're capable of."

"[Next] week will be the biggest game we've ever played against Virginia, without question," Beamer added. "Usually, we're playing for a bowl, but now we're playing for the right to go to the ACC Championship. It's a compliment to the state of Virginia that two teams here are fighting it out in our division to go play in the ACC Championship game, so we have a big week ahead of us."